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CMS Issues Data Collection Waiver

In light of the ongoing spread of SARS-CoV-2, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a waiver for agencies selected in 2020 to participate in the Medicare Ground Ambulance Data Collection process. According to CMS, those agencies previously selected for 2020 data collection must now choose a new reporting period beginning in calendar year 2021. You can learn more about this delay and the process in general during our IAFC ambulance data collection webinar scheduled for May 21 at 3 PM ET by the EMS Section and PCG Health.
Cost Reporting, a CMS initiative, was launched in 2019 to gather cost, revenue, and utilization data from all Medicare-enrolled ground ambulance suppliers. CMS plans to gather information from 25% of all ground ambulance suppliers each year over the next four years. In January, CMS notified that the agencies they selected to participate in this year’s round of data collection. CMS plans a 10% payment deduction for all selected agencies that fail to report their data. To support the intent of cost reporting, which is to adjust ambulance reimbursements to match expenses, and to avoid penalties for noncompliance, it is critically important that all Medicare-enrolled ground ambulance suppliers check Medicare’s website to see if they are in this first cohort of agencies selected for reporting.
CMS recognizes that many fire departments and EMS agencies are occupied with the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, CMS recently announced that any agency selected for data collection in 2020 must delay the start of their data collection period and select a new starting date between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021. CMS is only providing this flexibility for Year 1 participants and intends to proceed as anticipated with a new cohort of 25% of agencies for data collection in Year 2 (2021-2022).  
If your agency hasn’t started preparing for CMS’ data collection efforts, it’s not too late! The EMS Section is partnering with PCG Health to help IAFC members to prepare for this process through a three-part webinar series. Recordings of the part one webinar and part two webinar are available online. The third and final installment will be presented live on Thursday at 3 PM ET. You can register to attend the webinar live or view the recording after the webinar airs.
The EMS Section is looking forward to helping IAFC members stay ahead of the curve on data collection and other EMS initiatives. Anyone seeking information on this data collection initiative is welcome to contact the EMS Section or post a question to KnowledgeNet.


Evan Davis is a strategic government relations manager for the IAFC.

Chief McEvoy  is the EMS Chief for Saratoga County, New York and the Chair of the IAFC EMS Section Board of Directors


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